Welcome to aea365! Please take a moment to review our new community guidelines. Learn More.

Graduate Students & New Evaluators TIG Week: A New Evaluator Survival Guide by Briana Thompson Ford, Christine Liboon, Crystal Luce

This week, the members of the Graduate Students and New Evaluators (GSNE) TIG share various tips, tricks, resources, and points of view that can be helpful for students and new evaluators. We hope both evaluators, new and old, will review this material and share the resources and stories with each other.
-Crystal Luce, GSNE Chair

Hello. We are Briana Ford, MPH, GSNE TIG Co-Chair, and a public health researcher and data analyst working out of my hometown, Columbia, SC; Christine Liboon, doctoral candidate at UCLA’s School of Education and Information Studies (Ed&IS)’s Social Research Methodology program; and Crystal Luce, research associate at Aurora Research Institute and adjunct faculty at several local Universities.

POV: You’ve learned about the Evaluation Profession, and you’re ready to go. You’ve delved deep into the subject, but now you’re left with more questions than answers. You’re not alone.

The evaluation community shares common values, but we all come from diverse educational and experiential backgrounds. If you’re reading this, you’re probably considering a career in evaluation. Congratulations! The journey begins here.

New Evaluators with Diverse Backgrounds | Justification

In line with the Graduate Student and New Evaluator TIG’s mission to support newcomers and students of evaluation, we aim to kickstart your journey by highlighting resources to familiarize yourself with AEA and the evaluation profession. Besides online resources, we encourage you to connect with practicing evaluators, many of whom are AEA members. Humility Check: We’re fairly new evaluators ourselves, and there are likely more organizations to support your unique evaluation journey. Explore all relevant avenues for your growth and goals.

Rad Resources

Become an AEA Member (…Obviously.)

If you were waiting on a sign to join AEA, this is it. AEA membership is one of the the best investments you could make. Our membership is considerably more hands-on and active than many professional societies. Between active discussion forums, calls for peer collaboration, job and contract bulletin boards, and of course directly joining one of our 60+ TIGs, there’s always something to gain from AEA membership. You will not find as many qualified and sincerely thoughtful evaluators gathered under the same banner, for $173/year (or $73 if you’re enrolled in school).

  • Once you join AEA, follow these 5 tips to get the most out of it! 
  • Sign up for the GSNE TIG (Topical Interest Group).
  • Join additional TIGs to connect with members who share your interests. Go to the Topical Interest Group landing page to see your options. You may join as many as you like, but we tend to recommend 2-4 so that members meaningfully engage with each other. Don’t forget to pace yourself.
  • Get familiar with AEA’s culture such as, how we define evaluation, our Guiding Principles, Competencies & Standards, and Cultural Competence Statement.
  • Get even more out of membership with  AEA’s Digital Knowledge Hub, which has a library of prerecorded, live, and self-paced modules to turn you into pro (literally) before you know it! 
Research Local AEA Affiliates

Many states offer local AEA “Affiliates” that provide learning opportunities and mentorships. Check our affiliate page for one near you. If your area lacks a local affiliate, reach out to nearby affiliates for potential opportunities to broaden your horizons. Look on our affiliate page for a group near you.

Consider Joining Complementary Organizations

If you collaborate internationally, explore this global directory of evaluation societies. Connect with evaluators who share your professional vision. Additionally, join local evaluation societies in countries relevant to your work. Here is this global directory.

Join Organizations Specific to Your Field

If, like me, you’re in public health, consider joining relevant organizations such as the American Public Health Association. Stay informed about industry-specific topics and contribute to the field’s growth.

Start Learning Now & Never Stop

Look for opportunities to join evaluation efforts. Students can reach out to respected scholars and practitioners for guidance. Seek mentorship from experienced evaluators who align with your goals.

The demand for evaluation is growing, and as newcomers, it’s essential to learn from experienced pioneers in the field. Don’t hesitate to share your innovative ideas; they’ll help our field remain competitive and respected. Remember, the work of good science is never done.

Welcome, new evaluator. We hope you’ll stay with us!

AEA is hosting GSNE Week with our colleagues in the Graduate Student and New Evaluators AEA Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to AEA365 come from our GSNE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this AEA365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the AEA365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an AEA365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to AEA365@eval.org. AEA365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.